The EchoSim Project Brings (Some) Amazon Alexa Features to Your Web Browser

echosim_imageAmazon's virtual assistant is available in a $90 to $200 household appliance, via Android and iOS apps, and now in your web browser.

Well, mostly available.

Inspired by a hackathon project, Amazon has released EchoSim, a virtual Echo which is less Alexa in your web browser than it is a tool for developers. It is being pitched as a way for developers to refine specific "Alexa skills". lives in your browser, so anyone, anywhere can access it and test their Alexa skills. You no longer need an Alexa-enabled device to test your skills. Developers worldwide can use to experience Alexa. Its simplicity makes it easy for anyone to understand what an Echo is and what it does without having to explain Alexa’s unique UI.

I spent a few minutes playing with it, and it really is limited.

You can tell it to read an ebook to you, and it will acknowledge but never actually read the ebook. (In fact, it will only acknowledge the audiobook, and not the ebook.) And you'll also need to use your mouse to press the button on the screen so that the virtual  Echo knows to listen to you, and process what you're saying.

So this really is just a tool for developers, which is a pity. If I could play with a full-featured Alexa in my web browser, one with the full voice recognition features, it might convince me that it's worth buying the hardware.

EchoSim via Engadget

About Nate Hoffelder (11481 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: "I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

2 Comments on The EchoSim Project Brings (Some) Amazon Alexa Features to Your Web Browser

  1. If you want to talk to your Amazon Echo on a mobile device try the Apple and Android app, “Roger”. It’s a cross between a push to talk application and a voice based messaging application. But it can also be linked to your Amazon Echo account and then at the tap of a button on your phone you can talk to Alexa asking questions and giving commands. I have it on my phone and it seems to work well.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.